Anders Behring Breivik was the Norwegian citizen and architect of what has come to be known as the Norway Massacre. 8 people were killed in the first attacks in Oslo, exploding near government buildings. A further 69 people, many of them teenagers and members of the Workers’ Youth League, were slaughtered by machine gun fire on Utoya Island.
Huge swathes of the world’s media gathered outside the courthouse in Oslo in anticipation of hearing what this mass murderer had to say. Following his arrest he promised to reveal all in court adding coldly ‘it was gruesome but necessary’.
There was shock still that it was not a foreign terrorist organization as many had assumed, but was one of their own citizens who was the perpetrator of this evil and horrendous act, and had acted entirely alone.
Rather than taking his own life as we have become used to in these events, he instead gave himself up willingly.
A member of The Knights Templar organization, taking its name from (a Christian military order founded in the 12th Century, that consisted of elite military warriors), who espouse racist, sexist and anti-Islamic views. Its website boasting 5000 members worldwide. He created his 1500 page Manifesto titled 2083 ‘A European Declaration of Independence’, and posted this online to numerous recipients before embarking on his own personal crusade to commit mass murder.
That Breivik could be diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia by a team of court appointed psychiatrists caused uproar from the general public and families of the bereaved.
This seemed a bizarre conclusion to arrive at for a number of reasons. There are many paranoid schizophrenics who when genuinely suffering from this debilitating mental illness, lack the mental capacity to operate at such a high level of functioning. This mental illness often renders the sufferer incapable of maintaining their daily routines, that you and I would take for granted, and possibly requiring hospitalization or at least outreach care.
Paranoid schizophrenia is typically characterized by auditory hallucinations, paranoia, suspicions, possibly violence, and delusions of grandeur. However, whilst under long-term observation by medical staff, Breivik failed to meet these traits.
Many mistakenly assume that anyone who would do such a thing MUST be mad, but Breivik always maintained that he was not insane, even taking offence at the inference.
These attacks involved 9 years of planning with Breivik even setting up a farming business called Breivik Geofarm, as a cover for obtaining fertilizers and other chemicals to make explosives. He also had the wherewithal to plant the explosives in a van in the centre of Oslo, ensuring that all available resources would be drawn to the area, meanwhile he could make his escape and head out of Oslo towards Utoya Island, where this quiet secluded spot would allow him the freedom to carry out his attacks completely unhindered for some time.
Another team of court appointed psychiatrist were deployed with re-assessing Breivik’s mental state, and he was re-diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. A disorder associated with self-centeredness, a lack of empathy for others, grandiosity, envy of others, a preoccupation with achieving success, and the belief that somehow they are unique and special.
This seemed a more fitting diagnoses for Breivik, who articulately described his reasons for the attacks as to save Norway and western Europe from a Muslim takeover, adding that the labour party had to ‘pay the price for letting down Norway and the Norwegian people’.
Prior to these attacks Breivik had hired a professional photographer to take a series of shots of him wearing different outfits, including wearing military regalia, and in another wearing a wet suit and posing with a rifle, to name but a few. Further evidence of his narcissistic personality.
In court Breivik was unrepentant, each day raising his trademark salute on entering court, and insisting he did not recognise the authority of the court. He smiled and giggled to himself when hearing the details of how his victims perished. He described his actions as the most ‘sophisticated and spectacular political attack’ in Europe since World war II. At no time did he show any regret or remorse for his victims. He broke down just once, as a film of his promotional video was played to the court. Towards the end of his trial he even stated he was only sorry he did not kill more!
What has become apparent is that Breivik has now attained what he wanted in many respects, in that his name will now be recorded in the annals of history for his infamy. This perhaps is the final tragedy.